The word “Mum” is perhaps the softest word in the world, conjuring up warm, fuzzy thoughts of your favourite comfort food, made fresh and delicious, just the way you like it. The word “Tiger”, on the other hand conjures up quite the opposite!

People probably will never understand how these two elements could ever be connected; however, the Chinese have their own opinions.

It is common in Chinese culture to believe that “sparing the rod will spoil the child”. Chinese mothers are convinced that for children to be shaped in the correct mould, they need discipline. Children need to understand that if they don’t follow the code, they will be punished. And this punishment is by way of withdrawing privileges for a few days, be it play time or treats. Day after day, these purposely built habits will finally become a part of their psychology. This, the Chinese believe, is the key to success – a trait highly valued by Chinese mothers all over.

In China, Tiger Mums are everywhere and one of the most famous stories dates back to the Song dynasty. Yue Fei, was the General of the country and his loyalty and courage was lauded by generations of Chinese people. And it was all because of his mother’s influence!

Today, the meaning of “success” might have changed, but the notion of a “successful character” built by these Tiger Mums is believed to be the key ingredient in their children’s prosperity. And if that wasn’t a happy enough ending, you’ll be pleased to know that the Tiger Mum surprisingly turns out to be a child’s best friend too!

By Angela Xiao

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